Ah! Spring has sprung. Bird are chirping. Days are noticeably longer. There is an excitement in the air. This manic energy is almost palpable. With spring and its rejuvenation, comes a renewed sense of purpose and self-actualization.
In that spirit and with a dichotomous heart, heavy and excited, I announce I will be leaving the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine (ACNM). It has been a wonderful 6 years and I can not say enough about the opportunity to attain experience, friendships, and develop as a person. For these reasons, I am a better doctor and now have a refined business acumen. With a sense of confidence, I can pursue my ambition of opening my own clinic. I attribute that to my time at ACNM.
Before moving on, I would like to share FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SPRING A LITTLE HEALTHIER.
TRY NEW FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Eating a variety of these foods will give you a more comprehensive span of micronutrients. Each different color carries a unique antioxidant spectrum. The best way to do this is to become part of community-supported agriculture (CSA). This is a share of a local farm, where you get a portion of the harvest each week (or however often you want). I have done this for years and love it! I would have never tried bok choy or kohlrabi if were not for CSAs. Click HERE for a list of local ones.
TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY OR OUTDOOR EXERCISE. Whether it is taking advantage of our incredible single track in Goldstream or participating in a woodworking class at the Folk School, new activities can facilitate new neuronal connections in the brain leading to better muscular balance and may even make you smarter. Plus, it may help maintain your motivation toward those new years resolutions.
MAKE A NEW FRIEND. Research regarding the impact of social connection on health is vast. A study by the University of Michigan showed a lack of social connection as a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Researchers at Brigham Young University completed a meta-analysis of 148 studies and concluded a strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity. Several other studies have shown it can strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect against anxiety and depression.
USE NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS. Tis' the season for “spring” cleaning. Be careful. There are many chemicals in products that are considered neurotoxic (nerve damaging) and endocrine disruptors (interrupts hormone signaling). For instance, triclosan can be found in many liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps. It can promote bacterial resistance (think superbugs), is an endocrine disruptor, a probable carcinogen (cancer-related), and kills algae in lakes and rivers. Vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils can go a long way. Find other safe alternatives HERE.
DRINK PLENTY OF CLEAN WATER. I know this is sort of a given. However, I am how surprised the majority of patients I test are at least mildly dehydrated. The dry environment we live in, plus heated homes can suck the moisture right out of us. You want to shoot for about half your weight in ounces of water per day. Add another 8 ounces for every cup of coffee/alcohol or 15 minutes of sweating. Also, make sure the water you are drinking and bathing in is clean. Arsenic can contaminate wells and there are a number of chemicals municipal utilities do not test or filter out. The U.S. Geological Survey tested water in 9 states across the country in 2008 and found 85 man-made chemicals, including birth control and other medications, in tap water. Click HERE for the EWG’s water filter buying guide. Also be aware that if you use a reverse osmosis filter, which strips minerals from water, you may want to use a remineralization filter as well.
Dr. Ashley May, ND is a practicing naturopathic doctor in Fairbanks, Alaska. To learn more about Dr. May and his new practice, go to www.doctormaynd.com.